Engaging and Listening

Engaging and Listening

It was unexpected that the day after I blogged about a number of change organizations attracting attention in our society, particularly from our young people, that I saw it for myself on the streets of Washington, D.C.

Yet another change organization–different from the two that I wrote about yesterday–this one called “Be The Change” with three national campaigns currently:

– Service Nation–encourages a year of national service “to tackle pressing social issues.”

– Opportunity Nation–advocates for expanded economic mobility for all young people and to “close the opportunity gap in America.”

– Got Your 6–seeks to create opportunities for veterans.

Has “change” just become cliche or are people genuinely looking for something that is missing in today’s culture, values, and norms.

These smiling people certainly seem to be excited about change.

It just makes you wonder–what is it that people are desperately missing in their lives and want en masse to change? How do we help people find that missing link and achieve real enthusiasm for what we are doing and where we are going?

As leaders, it is our duty to understand and meet the genuine needs of the people…somehow doing this on the street corner by volunteers (as hardworking and noble as it is) seems to missing the larger point of government by the people for the people.

We need more politicians engaging and more people feeling they are being listened to. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Benefits of Coffee

Benefits of Coffee

So we went to see Bruce Willis’s new Die Hard Movie today–“A Good Day To Die Hard.”

Lot’s of action, shooting, awesome weapons, attack copters, and car chases.

We stopped on the way for a cup of coffee–but it wasn’t Starbucks–which is sort of so cliche and boring already, but a mom and pop place–and it was nice.

They had a refreshing variety of coffees, cozy tables, and good eats.

One thing, I couldn’t help noticing was this funny sign on the wall touting the benefits of coffee–“Do stupid things faster with more energy.”

I guess with compact energy shots like 5-Hour Energy, you can do stupid things not just faster and with more energy, but for longer periods of time as well. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Innovation: Leaders vs. Liars

Innovation

There’s a big difference between doing something and saying you’re going to do something.

Or as I learned early on–words are cheap, but actions speak loud and clear.

The Wall Street Journal (23 May 2012) reported this week about how many companies (and even academic institutions) overuse the word innovation–“the introduction of something new.”

It’s practically become cliche–“chief innovation officers, innovation teams, innovation strategies, and even innovation days.”

So is innovation just the buzzword du jour or is ultimately something more?

Of course, the more we use something like the term innovation, the greater the chance to dilute its meaning.

– “33,528–times [innovation] was mentioned in quarterly and annual reports last year.”

– “255–books published in the last 90 days with innovation in the title.”

– “43%–of 260 executives who said their company has a chief innovation officer.”

However, innovation is not just a word to throw around and use lightly–innovation is our bread and butter in this country; it is what differentiates us from our global competitors (i.e. its one of our main competitive advantages) and is a source of our economic strength.

Not all innovation is created equal–there is “innovation lite” (my term), where we take something and make it better, faster, or cheaper, and then there is “disruptive innovation”–where we really bring something new to the market.

“Everybody’s innovating because any change is innovation,” but not every innovation is transformative.

We can’t afford for innovation to lose its meaning, because leaders and companies that abuse it and dilute it–and don’t ultimately deliver–will end up losing their jobs and ultimately the companies themselves.

Real innovation is like condiments, use it sparingly and it can pack a huge punch–pour it on indiscriminately, and you might as well just throw away the whole dish.

What we need are innovation leaders that don’t just mouth the words and buy the toys, but champion it, invest in it, and empower and encourage their employees to make it happen.

Innovate or die is our reality–so be a true innovation leader–don’t lie to yourself if it isn’t the real thing. 😉

(Source Photo: herewith attribution to Seth Waite)

Who Are The Kids And Who The Adults

 

This video is hilarious as the little girl acts out what we look and sound like at work. 

She is actually so good, I think she would qualify for many of the postings today at USAJOBS. 🙂 

Perhaps, we all need to be ourselves again at work, rather than cliche and acronym robots. 

Then we could actually get some real work done, at least when we aren’t busy acting like children! 

Enjoy and laugh a little.